Thursday, December 7, 2017

Is limiting gun rights "common sense"?

Not too long ago, I got involved in quite a conversation with someone intent on proving that limiting gun rights was not only lawful and in keeping with the Constitution, but that it wasn't that far off legal precedents already established.  He sited two examples: freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly.  His argument was that since we place limitations on these two basic freedoms, and they have withstood challenges, then limitations on gun rights (the 2nd Amendment) should be a no brainer.  The problem is, his examples weren't apples to apples, as often happens when you skipped logic and rationality on the way to making your decision, and only try to make the facts work out AFTER you've arrived at your conclusion.

Freedom of speech is a distinctly American and closely held right, but it is not without it's limitations.  Shouting "FIRE" in a crowded theatre is a common example.  Libel and slander are other examples of speech that are not protected.  So, gun rights can be limited likewise right?  Not quite.  The problem is, "FIRE" is not merely speech, it is a call to action (to evacuate the building).  Libel and slander are both obvious or intentional falsehoods (often called malicious) that cause injury (monetary, social, etc.)  So in both cases, speech that provokes action and speech that causes injury is limited, not speech for speech's sake.

Freedom of assembly, the right to commune with others and demonstrate/preach/protest is an important right in our society, one which has provoked great social change and righted wrongs, but it is limited by law.  One has the right to peacefully assemble, but one is not allowed to riot.  For those that are paying attention, rioting has nothing to do with peaceful assembly, rioting causes damage and injury.  So once again, the freedom of assembly is curbed at that point which it causes injury to people or damage to property.

Likewise, gun rights are ALREADY limited to the same standard.  I can carry a firearm (openly or concealed, I live in an open carry state and have a permit for concealed carry) in public all I wish, but drawing that firearm or using it brings with it consequences.  My simple possession, or my carrying, is not that which causes injury or damage to property, only it's employment (intentional or negligent discharge) has the potential to cause injury or damage property.  So, why then do I keep having to justify to people my right to own a magazine fed rifle, or carry a firearm on my person, or own firearms at all (and yes, those nutjobs that demand full disarmament have finally shed their disguise)?

Common sense dictates that we each have the freedom to engage in whatever behavior, speech, and action we choose based on our own personal priorities.  Common sense dictates that I, a military veteran and law abiding citizen, decided to carry a firearm to defend myself and my family and do so safety EVERY DAY:  In grocery stores, walking with my family, going to friends and neighbors' houses, you can't see it but rest assured I'm armed just about wherever I go.  Common sense dictates that someone not force their beliefs upon me, or demand I live according to their opinions.  You have your right, I have mine.

Respect mine, and I'll respect yours. - Phil Rabalais

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